In a move that surprises absolutely no one, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has quit Apple's board of directors, marking the end to another synergy that wasn't. When Schmidt joined Apple's board in 2006, the companies seemed poised to work closely together, now they compete in both the operating system and wireless handset markets.
"Eric has been an excellent board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. "Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple's core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric's effectiveness as an Apple board member will be significantly diminished."
That pretty much says it, with Schmidt echoing the statement.
"I have very much enjoyed my time on the Apple Board; it's a fantastic company," said Schmidt in a statement. "But as Apple explained today we've agreed it makes sense for me to step down now."
The move ends months of speculation and also solves the problem of a pesky interlocking directors investigation begun in May by the US Dept. of Justice.
Schmidt had been sitting out portions of meetings that dealt with ares where the two companies competed, but the competition grew when Google announced its Chrome OS earlier this year. Finding himself more outside Apple board meetings than inside, it was time for Schmidt to go.
Back in 2006, it seemed as though Google and Apple might become close partners, though nothing really materialized beyond Apple's use of Google as OS X's default search engine.
More recently, Apple rejected a Google Voice app for iPhone, which has sparked an FCC investigation of both Apple and AT&T, which provides iPhone service in the US.
The rejection was widely seen as a protective move for AT&T, which might have lost revenue to Google's free offering.
(Industry veteran David Coursey tweets as @techinciter.)
Note: This blog first appeared on our sister site PCWorld.com.